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Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Practices Organization (RICO)

To combat organized crime, Congress designed The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

RICO may be applied to organized crime, to legitimate businesses, and to enterprises without a profit motive.

To be prosecuted under RICO, the government must prove: that the person committed two or more acts that constitute a pattern of racketeering activity; directly or indirectly invested in, maintained, or participated in an enterprise; the activities of which affect interstate or foreign commerce.

Activities that are expressly prohibited under RICO include investing income from a pattern of racketeering activity, acquiring or maintaining an interest in an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity, conducting the affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity, and conspiring to do any of the above prohibited activities.

RICO violators are subject to fines, imprisonment, and mandatory asset forfeiture, as well as potential civil liability.  Essentially RICO makes it a crime to be a criminal.